Our Work

Energy and Climate Action Organizer – AmeriCorps Member Sought

In partnership with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Vermont Natural Resources Council and the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network seek a full-time, passionate individual to build the capacity and success of our energy and climate action work.

Read much more below (and apply here: http://www.vhcb.org/acorps/positions.html).

VNRC is the state’s oldest independent environmental education, collaboration and advocacy organization. VNRC works from the grassroots to the state level to advance and strengthen the foundation upon which Vermont’s economy thrives — vibrant communities and healthy downtowns, clean and abundant fresh water, working farms and forests, wild places, and clean energy.

VECAN is the growing network of over 100 town energy committees and the organizations that support the work of town energy committees through technical assistance, networking, communications and capacity building support. VNRC serves as the coordinator of VECAN.

The successful AmeriCorps member candidate will split his or her time between supporting VNRC’s Energy Program and supporting VECAN’s efforts. Specifically, the AmeriCorps member will:

  • Lend general organizing, communications and outreach support to VECAN and VNRC staffers on projects or tasks, as-needed, including informing and helping to mobilize the network of 100 community energy committees around important program or project opportunities. Tasks would include:

1) helping to maintain regular communication with the network of town energy committees;

2) helping to create and disseminate information on timely energy-related opportunities of interest to Vermonters;

3) helping to do the research and writing that might be needed to synthesize and promote opportunities; and

4) helping to populate and manage the VECAN web site as an essential forum for communicating with town energy committee leaders and others interested in energy-related efforts. (With the help of the VNRC/VECAN 2011-2012 AmeriCorps member, VECAN has a new, improved and easy-to-navigate web site that we hope a new AmeriCorps member will help us ensure serves as a useful, current, one-stop-shop of energy information, events etc for town energy committees and others.)

  • The AmeriCorps member will help maintain and strengthen the VECAN web site — www.vecan.net — to keep it current, compelling and relevant. This would likely include helping to keep the list of community energy committee leaders current, maintaining and building the VECAN calendar of events, helping to identify and upload relevant resources, case studies etc.
  • Help to identify and target Vermont communities currently without a town energy committee and undertake the outreach, community engagement, volunteer recruitment strategy and technical assistance needed to inspire more Vermonters to take action. This will include a specific, targeted focus at towns currently without energy committees in the Upper Valley. The goal will be to inspire and support new communities in the formation of a committee. There are many resources available to communities to start a committee or undertake a project, including VECAN partners, regional planning commissions etc.
  • Ensuring that communities know the benefits of these kinds of groups and that they understand the support mechanisms in place for them to create and sustain a group or program is essential. An AmeriCorps member will be charged with help implementing the targeted strategy in the Upper Valley as well as working with VECAN partners to catalyze more groups across Vermont generally, including targeting key audiences whom could be pivotal in comprising and growing these groups, such as retirees, students, faith-based groups etc. Another part of this work would be to serve as a potential resource to existing town energy committees, as VECAN and VNRC partners do now, on specific technical assistance initiatives (like building energy efficiency opportunities, the ‘Property Assessed Clean Energy’ or PACE program, transportation projects and programs, energy planning, general organizing and communications support etc).
  • Help VECAN partners and UVM Extension organize and host our 5t Annual “Community Energy and Climate Action Conference,” a daylong event tailored to community energy committee leaders, local officials and energy-interested Vermonters. The day is comprised of keynote speakers, regional energy network forums, and over a dozen workshops targeted at giving attendees an overview of turnkey energy programs or capacity building skills or resources they might embrace to advance their energy-saving, renewable energy-generating goals. Some specific elements of the work related to this task include:
    • Attending regular conference planning meetings, helping with event planning logistics, doing outreach, communications and recruitment for the event, including creating and helping to disseminate event information in as many relevant, creative forums as possible, helping pull together workshops for the conference etc.
  • Help to organize, conceptualize and execute ‘regional energy network meetings,’ often held in partnership with Regional Planning Commissions. VECAN co-hosts these events which are held, on average, quarterly in regions across the state. These meetings serve to convene town energy committee leaders and other energy-interested Vermonters. The events provide an overview of pertinent energy related topics or programs that communities might be interested in undertaking. In the past, regional meetings have focused on: 1) municipal building weatherization opportunities; 2) home energy efficiency or weatherization opportunities and approaches; 3) clean energy financing strategies; 4) alternative transportation solutions; 5) energy planning; 6) renewable energy development; and 7) capacity building of town energy committee leaders and the formation of new town energy committees, along with other energy topics of interest to Vermonters.
  • Work with VNRC and other key partners (such as regional planning commissions, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund and others) to provide technical energy planning assistance and support to communities. A cornerstone of this work involves helping to disseminate and promote the soon-to-be released Community Resilience Scorecard (a ‘community diagnostic tool;’ a tool aimed at helping Vermonters assess, understand, measure and implement strategic energy-innovating strategies at the local level) that we will pair with VNRC’s Energy Planning and Implementation Guidebook for Vermont Communities. This work will likely include direct outreach to communities letting them know this tool exists, as well as helping to organize outreach forums for presenting the material to regional planning commissions, local officials, individual energy committees and others interested in using these strategic tools to assess where they could improve on energy and sustainability issues and embrace targeted solutions.
  • Help to identify, summarize, craft and publish on the VNRC and VECAN web sites (and other media outlets as possible) ‘case studies’ of innovative projects or programs that Vermonters are undertaking across the state. It is becoming more clear everyday that real life stories and concrete examples are essential to inspire and motivate people to take action on energy — weatherizing their homes or businesses, conserving energy, taking transit, transitioning to renewables etc. An example of those kinds of case studies can be found in the publication titled Communities Tackling Vermont’s Energy Challenges. Find both the Guidebook and Communities Tackling Vermont’s Energy Challenges here: http://www.vnrc.org/energy/resources/energy-planning-implementation-guidebook-for-vt-communities/.
  • Deliver direct technical assistance and organizing support, in partnership with VECAN members, to communities on specific energy-related projects. This will include building off of the Upper Valley Home Energy Assistance Team (UV HEAT) initiative. The UV HEAT initiative is aimed at significantly increasing the number of homes in the Upper Valley that undergo an energy audit and undertake significant home energy efficiency improvements through direct, door-to-door contact with homeowners in the Upper Valley region to educate them about energy-saving opportunities. The UV HEAT model is also premised on mobilizing volunteers to assist homeowners in making strategic energy-saving improvements, under the supervision of a certified energy auditor. Last year, UV Heat focused in the Upper Valley. The AmeriCorps member will work with VECAN partners to advance this innovative and results-oriented program in other Vermont towns.  Other direct technical program assistance that an AmeriCorps member would likely provide support on would include the Way to Go Commuter Challenge, energy planning, assistance to educate and organize communities around implementing the PACE program (noted below) and some potential community-to-community energy challenges currently under consideration, including a statewide Green Mountain Community Energy Challenge, which would focus on finding creative strategies to inspire more Vermonters to make energy-saving or renewable energy improvements in their homes.
  • Work with VECAN partners and other key stakeholders, including Efficiency Vermont, Vermont League of Cities and Towns and the Burlington Electric Department, to help the 35 Vermont communities who have passed the ‘Property Assessed Clean Energy Program’ or PACE implement the promising clean energy financing tool. This work would likely specifically include

1) helping to create the outreach and communication materials and strategy to help communities understand this promising program and the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy investments generally,

2) doing direct technical and electronic outreach to advance the program and providing other needed assistance to help EVT and Vermont communities move this program forward successfully. PACE has the potential to fill a key need for Vermont homeowners — finding the funds necessary to make energy improvements to their residences. There will be important educational opportunities around PACE implementation as well as foundation upon which to build — and measure — the number of homes that undertake home energy efficiency or renewable energy investments.

  • Work with VNRC and VECAN partners in outreach and public engagement efforts around implementing recommendations made in the 2011 Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan. In October 2011, the state put out its new comprehensive energy plan which serves as a framework for needed (and well vetted) action on energy, including strategies aimed at energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy generation, transportation, land use, financing and public education solutions. This will likely include helping to organize forums or other efforts to engage Vermonters in CEP implementation activities.
  • Help to organize forums around timely, targeted topics (on an as-needed basis) for town energy committee leaders and the general public.
  • Serve as a support resource to the VECAN team and VNRC staffers in key, energy-related projects including attending regular or relevant meetings and helping to track the results of those meetings (by taking notes) or providing support in follow up tasks.
  • Help to manage and build the database/contact list of community energy committee leaders.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Have experience or sincere interest in being part of a diverse team, working on diverse issues.
  • Have a knowledge of or passion for energy and climate change issues.
  • Be organized, motivated and as self-directed as possible.
  • Be able to manage several tasks simultaneously with a commitment to detail and follow through.
  • Web site management and other IT experience a plus.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Be US citizen (or have permanent resident status; call with questions about this);
  • Be at least 18 years of age upon entering the Pre-Service Orientation (there is no upper age limit), or 17 years of age with written parental permission that has been verified by phone;
  • Be a high school graduate or have a GED certificate, or be willing to work towards their GED as part of their service-year successful completion requirement.  A member cannot have dropped out of high school to join AmeriCorps.  If a member has a documented medical reason/professional opinion why they cannot finish high school, they might be eligible; call in this case;
  • Be committed to the VHCB AmeriCorps program, and its ethic of service and personal and professional development of its participants;
  • Have the ability and enthusiasm to drive to, attend, and participate in required trainings and events, and be prepared to drive up to 2-3 hours each way.

This is a full-time position (37.5 hours/week) for an 11-month period beginning on September 17, 2012. Benefits include a living allowance, education award, federal school loan forbearance, and health insurance. Find out more and download and send the application (which requires references and a cover letter) at http://www.vhcb.org/acorps/positions.html. Applications are due July 20, 2012. VNRC is an EOE.